There’s a great scene in the Peter Sellers movie “Being There” where Shirley McLaine’s character tries to seduce Mr. Chance. His response is “I like to watch, Eve.” She thinks he wants to watch her go solo. He means, “watch TV.”
I felt a little bit like Chance when reviewing two very good Twitter visualization tools. Both let you see what’s going on in Twitter in very interesting ways, albeit from a safe distance.
Twistori is a Web site that displays Twitter Tweets based on emotional category. A take off of the site “We Feel Fine” Twistori shows a rolling cast of Tweets using certain keywords like Love, Hate, Feel and Wish. What’s even better, Twistori has screensaver to download if you have a Mac.
I have to admit, it’s a little seductive to just sit back and watch, read and enjoy. One thing Twistori does not do is associate any Tweet with a specific or time spent. The tweets feel almost too anonymous.
Twittervision also lets you watch. The site shows Tweets on a world map as it moves around the globe. You get both picture thumbnails, Tweet, time sent and location. It’s very amusing and almost exciting trying to guess where the next Tweet will land. Unlike Twistori, the Tweets have no contextual relevance I could find, they seem to come up randomly in different places.
This does feel like watching TV. Both of these visualization tools want to make you go on Twitter and see if you can get your Tweet to show up here. My advice: Don’t hold your breath, you could sit there all day.
Twistori and Twittervision may be good tools for those who have heard about Twitter and want to see what the fuss is all about. But it would be much better to dive in to Twitter and participate. Start creating conversations and sharing thoughts and information. These two sites reminded me of my first time in Twitter, when a stream of random entries flowed past me from people I didn’t know.
Don’t make Mr. Chance’s mistake. It’s MUCH more fun doing than watching.